It's not as good as the majority of the BBC SHERLOCK episodes and nowhere near the best of them but still well worth watching if you are prepared for it with an open mind. For me the definitive American Holmes will always be HOUSE, and the Johnny Lee Miller Holmes does have a bit of Hugh Laurie's drug addled Dr Gregory House but this is a far more passive character. Far more passive in fact than any previous Holmes I can think of. Somehow Lucy Liu creates a Watson that is nothing like a previous Watson yet is still Watson.
Plots seem to be avoiding direct adaptations of Conan Doyle stories and much of the background around the characters is meant to be a departure.. which leads me to what I most like about Elementary.. It knows the real Holmes fans are sitting with their arms crossed outraged at the New York setting, and the female Watson, and right from the off it is deliberately tweaking their noses with a smile. It's smart, and it's cheaky, in much the same was as the Robert Downey Jnr film series is (at it's best)
HOUSE was brilliantly innovative in the way it transposed the cases to be solved into a medical, team format
BBC's SHERLOCK is innovative in the way it completely updates the Victorian concept into a modern environment and takes the method of storytelling (txts etc) along with it.
ELEMENTARY is really going to the bottom of those characters in a completely new way. Who knows if the standard of episodes will remains high (lets not forget BBC's Sherlock episode 2 is pretty crap) but I got to the end of Elementary episode 1 not wondering why they have a female Watson but why they didn't have a female Holmes as well (Tilda Swinton?)